I love camera traps. You never know what you catch while you are sleeping. We have got a trial cam that we put out while camping in Mabuasehube in Botswana. We caught the usual suspects, brown hyena, spotted hyena, black backed jackal and cape fox. The most exciting footage was a lion coming in to camp, and we did not even realize she was there. What was just as fantastic was when we put the cam up at the waterhole. I didn’t want Desmond to leave it there in the night as I wasxworried that an animal will take it, as what happened in your video with the lions. We caught leopard a few times and the best was wild dog drinking in the night from the waterhole. I can imagine that a go pro will give a much clearer picture, but you can’t just leave it for yhe whole night. I’ve read that it does get quite warm running continiously. Great capture of the lions. Would love to see more.
We have used trail cameras quite a bit on the reserve over the years. A few years back Andrea Campbell went on a quest to capture footage of an otter. One of my earliest Londolozi memories was setting a camera up to get photos of an aardvark and who could possibly forget the insane capture that the Panthera trail cameras got of the Tortoise Pan male catching an Nyala.
It’s so exciting setting one up and going back a few days later to see what has passed by.
I started taking my GoPro action camera on drive with me for a little while to see if I could capture some different shots and was pleasantly surprised with the results. With a little more time on my hands at the moment I decided to try and use the GoPro as a trail camera and see what unique shots and footage I could get. There were a few obstacles I had to overcome though…
The video quality on a GoPro action camera is quite a lot higher than a Trail-Cam but it doesn’t get triggered to start recording when something walks past, so you have to keep it recording non-stop. This means that the battery life is not nearly as long as a trail camera and you can’t leave it out for a few days at a time. I knew that if I wanted to get something unique I would have to find an animal first and then try and anticipate where it would move to so I could disguise the camera and put it down quickly and quietly without them knowing that there was something there.
I constructed a very rudimentary housing to disguise the GoPro which consisted of a few branches and some elephant dung and set out looking for something to capture. The results were interesting to say the least…
My first opportunity came with the Ntsevu Pride. Early one morning we found them finishing off a zebra kill and sat with them until they started to move again. The benefit of this time of year is that there is a lot of long grass around and so when they are on the move they tend to favour the easiest route through an area and that is often the dirt road. It was because of this that I could drive some distance ahead of them and “disguise” the camera in the grass next to the road, pack a bit of elephant dung around the base to try and mask the scent and then hopefully watch this big pride of lions move past whilst it videoed them from an angle that we usually do not get.
With just the camera lens exposed we backed off some distance and waited for the pride to keep walking down the road.
Here’s what happened…
So much for a hidden camera!
Hi Marinda, its always great fun setting them up!